art, landscape, nature, photography, random thought, travel, writing

planning an epic road trip // intro

It is said that “the road goes on forever”, but I prefer to think of it as having both a beginning and an end.

And the place to start and finish is always home.

For many years, the road was like home to me… now it is more a means to an end.

But it still has just as much of a draw on my spirit as it did before…

“Road…”, you are not home anymore, “…yet I love you, you express me better than I can express myself” (Walt Whitman).

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Often times people will compliment my images, and then inevitably ask how I did it.

I’ve found that many folks assume that I wander around, aimless, in amazing locations, and simply “happen upon” the perfect shot.  While that can happen, it’s really rare.  More often than not, a lot of work and planning go into each and every photograph.  And even after all that planning and hard work, sometimes it just doesn’t come together.  I am completely dependent on nature.  But it wouldn’t be as fun if it weren’t so challenging!

So it occurred to me after feedback from the last few posts that it might be interesting to my viewers to get a more in-depth, “behind the scenes” look into what it takes to plan, execute, and achieve success on a big road trip shoot, like my Rocky Mountain road trip and my upcoming Everglades adventure.

I will try to cover as much process as I can without boring you :)  I’ll season the raw information with poignant examples, along with hilarious and terrifying stories from the road.

You can expect several in-depth posts over the next few weeks, leading up to my trip… and here’s a brief outline of what I’ll cover:

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So thirteen years after my very first road trip alone – fittingly, also to the Everglades – I want to share some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way!

Planning an epic road trip is truly an art.  Don’t believe me?… check back in, follow this series, and then tell me what you think!

I would love to hear from all of you…  What have your experiences been, and what lessons have you learned on the road?

Thanks for tuning in!

— andrew

A lot of people don’t like the road, but it’s as natural to me as breathing.

Bob Dylan

Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.

J. R. R. Tolkien 

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If you are interested in learning more about photography, taking your art to a new level, and/ or Big Bend photography tours and workshops, please check out my new workshop dates:

Big Bend Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2013-2014

More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2013-2014

If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:

Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton

If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:

andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints

For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com

Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!

all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

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art, film, landscape, nature, photography, travel

petrified forest + painted desert

A really great spot we happened upon was Petrified Forest National Park.

You probably won’t want to spend a week there, but it’s a fascinating and beautiful day trip at least.

They do have backcountry camping, but I would not advise it in the summer.

Thankfully, we had great clouds and summer storms to add to the already dramatic landscape.

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Remnants of ancient trees litter the desert…. now huge, colorful stones that were once a lush forest.

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And the painted desert!  Probably my favorite section of this park, for the amazing earthen colors and big blue sky.

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The historic Painted Desert Inn.  Worth a quick stop.  Ask a ranger to show you one of the rooms… amazing!  Great views too.

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all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

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canyon de chelly // a disappearing act

When I was in college, I worked for a man who frequently raved about Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona.

But I’m rarely passing through Arizona unfortunately, so it doesn’t often pop into my periphery.

On this trip, however, because of my planned route, a visit to the little known canyon that Ansel Adams photographed a half century ago began to materialize.

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Crossing into Navajo country near Four Corners was a whole new experience.

The vast, open, dry plains and amazing monuments rising out of the desert floor were simply awe-inspiring.

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And, at least for a while, the clouds didn’t disappoint.

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But then we got to the canyon…

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This ancient place was inhabited by the Anasazi first, it is believed, several thousand years ago.  Until, they seemingly disappeared.  Just like in Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon.

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Then the Navajo moved in and began cultivating and farming the fertile canyon floor, and are still living off the land there to this day.

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Since the Navajo own, and many of their families inhabit this land, it is illegal to venture into the canyon without a Native guide.

The only exception being the White House hiking trail.  And since we were just passing through, and didn’t have a tour planned, we decided just to hike down.

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It was the wrong time of day to photograph the amazing homes carved into the side of this sheer cliff, but it was fascinating none-the-less.

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The visit really was too short to properly take this magnificent place in, but I’m glad we at least got a glimpse.

It truly is a beautiful and haunting place.

all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

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telluride // a few shots

By the time we got to Telluride, I was ready for a much needed break.

I had been working night and day for nearly 10 days in the park, not getting much sleep or rest.

It was nearing the Fourth, so I set the camera down for a few days to enjoy some time with Elle and our friends…

Except, of course, on two hikes… Bear Creek and Silver Lake.

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Soon our restful time in Telluride was over and it was on to work more in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas!

all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

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advanced, art, film, film making, landscape, nature, photography, travel, wildlife

rocky mountain np // motion

For fun, I decided to make a short video of some of my time-lapses and motion captures from the trip.

And yes, I just had to sneak some marmots in for a cameo or two….

I hope you enjoy!  For best results, watch in HD.

All motion clips are available for commercial and editorial licensing through Tandem Stills + Motion.

all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

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art, landscape, nature, photography, random thought, travel, wildlife, writing

rocky mountain national park // pictures

Well, after 3 weeks and 4300 miles, I’m finally back home.

It was an epic road trip and I am so pleased with the work I had the chance to produce in 5 National Parks!

The first of which being, of course, Rocky Mountain National Park.

I spent 9 days exploring and photographing this phenomenally beautiful place.  Most noted subjects of this park are the fast flowing creeks, abundant wildlife, and majestic peaks.

It was certainly a challenging experience; waking up before the sun to shoot all morning, hiking 10+ miles during the middle of the day (with 30 lbs of gear) to scout locations, and then shooting until after dark, going to bed and doing it all over again.  Needless to say, I wasn’t getting a ton of sleep, and I lost a few pounds of excess belly :)

It was a ton of hard work, but it’s the kind of labor that I really live to do.

So, here are a handful of my favorite images from the first leg of my three week trip!

In the next week or two, I will post more images, videos, time-lapses, and as promised, equipment reviews…

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have, technical or aesthetic, leave comments/ feedback, but most of all, I hope you enjoy the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park!

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All images are available for commercial and editorial licensing through Tandem Stills + Motion.  Prints of select images will be available soon!

all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

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advanced, city, composition, landscape, photography

aerials + lifestyle

I always love it when commercial real estate clients call.

And since the 80’s, Dallas has been a huge commercial real estate hub, so thankfully, there’s a lot of business.

Architecture and urban landscape are a very natural transition for me from traditional landscapes and nature photography.

Plainly speaking, architecture is man-made landscape, often mimicking the shapes and movements of nature.

Photographically, it’s just as exciting and challenging when done well.

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To add to the challenge, often times I’m asked to shoot little vignettes of the surrounding attractions; active lifestyles, restaurants/ bars, nightlife, etc.

These are generally very well rounded assignments.  And I absolutely love the technical and creative challenges of shooting different subjects and styles.

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all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

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